Strong results and great rewards
Before the last big mountain stage of the Tour de France, Wout Poels is still wearing the polka dot jersey of the best climber and Team Bahrain Victorious is leading the team classification by over half an hour. On top of that, Matej Mohoric and Sonny Colbrelli got very special gifts from MERIDA BIKES: Each got a REACTO EVO that matches their respective national champion’s jersey.
The 17th stage of this year's Tour de France was split into two very different parts: While the first part leading to the intermediate sprint after 113 kilometers hardly featured any relevant climbs, the organizers had packed two cat1 and one HC cat climb into the final 60 kilometers - and no less than 4300 vertical meters of ascending. After an animated start six riders who were not in contention for the best climber's standings went up the road, and these riders all scored KOM points atop the Col de Peyresourde. But as the breakaway fragmented on the slopes of the Col de Val Louron-Azet, Wout Poels managed to accelerate away from the group of favourites to cross the pass in 4th place and score important KOM points. As for the Col du Portet as the final climb of the day, Poels could not keep up with the fastest climbers, but Pello Bilbao and Dylan Teuns kept the flag of Team Bahrain Victorious up and flying in the group of favourites. With nine kilometers to go, Pello Bilbao even attacked, but this only provoked a powerful reaction from overall leader Tadej Pogacar: The Slovene counter-attacked and only Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz could follow. Bilbao and Teuns kept themselves in the first chasing group, crossing the finish line in 7th and 10th respectively. And since Wout Poels managed to limit his time loss, Team Bahrain Victorious defended its lead in the team classification by a large margin.
One day earlier the breakaway not only had spent a lot of time in the race lead but also got to fight for the stage win. On this transitional stage of medium difficulty, two groups rode away from a peloton happy to save energies for the mountain stages. Both Sonny Colbrelli and Fred Wright of Team Bahrain Victorious made it into the second group on the road, but the stage winner was riding further ahead: Patrick Konrad attacked with 34 kilometers to go on the slopes of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet and looked to be on his way to a solo victory. When David Gaudu tried to counter and close the gap, only Sonny Colbrelli could keep up with the Frenchman. The two could reduce their deficit to 24 seconds at the top of the pass, but they lost time again on the wet descent and were caught by the rest of the breakaway. Sonny Colbrelli made good use of the ascending final 700 meters to secure and place with a strong sprint - another top3 result for the Italian champion on a stage that had looked way too hard for him on paper.
On this rain-soaked day Sonny Colbrelli may well have taken some extra motivation from his new REACTO EVO road bike. Teaming up with fellow parts suppliers Vision and FSA, MERIDA BIKES had built two special editions of the team's aero bikes for the team's national champions Sonny Colbrelli and Matej Mohoric that perfectly match their national champion's jerseys and that are easy to spot in the peloton. Apart from the frame and the fork, matching colours of the flags of Italy and Slovenia can also be found on the handlebar and stem combo and the wheels. These two very distinctive team bikes were shipped to Andorra and built up by the team mechanics well in time for the second rest day in order to surprise Sonny Colbrelli and Matej Mohoric with these very special presents.
108TH TOUR DE FRANCE
STAGE 16: EL PAS DE LA CASA - SAINT-GAUDENS, 169KM
1. Patrick Konrad, AUT, in 4:01.59 hours
2. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.42
3. Michael Matthews, AUS, st
CLIMBERS' CLASSIFICATION AFTER 17 STAGES:
1. Wout Poels, NED/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, 78 points
2. Tadej Pogacar, SLO, 67 points
3. Nairo Quintana, COL, 66 points
3. Michael Woods, CAN, 66 points
TEAM CLASSIFICATION AFTER 17 STAGES:
1. TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, BHR, in 214:54.46 hours
2. EF Education Nippo, USA, + 34.16 minutes
3. AG2R Citroën Team, FRA, + 1:04.08 hours